July 2009

Edition Four

Hey everyone! And welcome to the fourth edition of “Yankee Yapping.” Sorry I didn’t type this up yesterday, there was a problem with my internet, but thankfully it’s solved.

 

Away we go!

 

My thoughts on…

 

The Post All-Star Break Winning Streak

 

Well, it’s safe to say that since the All-Star Break, the Yanks are the best in the majors. Posting a record of 10-1 since the mid-summer classic, the Bronx Bombers are in first place, 2 ½ games ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the American League Eastern Division standings.

 

I said in the third installment of “Yankee Yapping” that Robinson Cano and CC Sabathia are two players that put up their best efforts in the second half of the season. That thought is proving to be true.

 

At press time Cano is 11 for his last 34 with two home runs and eight RBIs over the last 10 games. He has only struck out five times over that span, and is currently sporting a .311 batting average.

 

Sabathia has only made two starts since the All-Star break and he has won both of them. On July 18, he beat Detroit as he went seven innings and gave up no runs on five hits. In that game Sabathia walked three and struck out four.

 

His second start came on July 23, and he beat Oakland going seven innings, and giving up three earned runs on nine hits. He walked none and matched his previous strikeout count with four.

 

Sabathia gets the ball again tonight at Tampa Bay, hoping to notch his 11th win of the 2009 season.

 

The bottom line is pretty much that the Yankees are playing the best ball we the fans have seen in a long time. On one of the recent YES Network broadcasts, former Yankee warrior/right fielder Paul O’Neill stated that the team reminds him of the Dynasty teams of the late 1990s.

 

Hopefully the 2009 season ends the same way as those Dynasty teams. The way the ’09 Yanks have been playing, there is a chance it might.   

 

My Latest Trip to the New Stadium

 

 


taking congrats.jpg 

I have been fortunate enough this year to (so far) get out to three games at the new Yankee Stadium.

 

My first trip (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/161723-my-first-trip-to-the-new-yankee-stadium-the-experience-of-a-lifetime) came on Apr. 22 against the Oakland Athletics.

 

It was an amazing experience, and it turned out to be historical.

 

Not only was it the first time two players hit back-to-back home runs in the new ballpark (Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera did it in the bottom of the second) but Cabrera hit the first walk-off home run in the new stadium to win the game for the Yanks.

 

The second game I attended was on May 15, the beginning of “walk-off weekend” against the Minnesota Twins.

 

It was Alex Rodriguez’s first game at the new Yankee Stadium, and Brett Gardner provided me with a memory I’ll never forget: hitting an unbelievable inside-the-park home run. Cabrera also had the game-winning hit and the Yanks once again claimed victory.

 

Last Wednesday (July 22) was my latest trip to the new Yankee Stadium, and it was another good game as the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-4.

 

I had been wanting to see A.J. Burnett pitch for quite some time (if you haven’t noticed, he and I both share the same initials; CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes started the other two games I attended) and I finally got my wish.

 

Burnett looked strong through the seven innings he pitched, and only gave up two runs on six hits. He walked three batters and punched out six.     

 

The Yankees led 6-2 in the top half of the ninth, and the afternoon was nearly ruined by Brian Bruney, who came in and gave up back-to-back home runs to Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.

 

Thankfully Mariano Rivera came in to nail it down and give the Yanks a win and a sweep of the O’s. (Yankees taking congratulations after the game pictured above)

 

It’s great knowing that the Yankees have won every game I have been to this season, and like the other games I’ve been to this year, it was historical.

 

It was more historical for me as a fan because it was the first time I have ever seen the Orioles play a game against the Yankees. With that, I have now seen the Yankees play every team in the American League at least once in my lifetime.

 

The Bullpen

 

It’s strange how the Yankees’ bullpen has been working lately.

 

Some of the pitchers are lights out and some of them struggle to get ahead of the batters and get outs.

 

For example, on Wednesday when I went to the game, the Yankees were leading 6-2 in the top of the ninth. It’s a non-save situation, the team is up by four runs, Bruney comes in and gets two quick outs.

 

He then proceeds to give up two solo homers in success of each other, forcing a save situation and Rivera into the game.

 

Bruney has not been performing well, that’s certainly been evident.

 

But then there are other pitchers who come and they’re untouchable. Of course Rivera falls into the category, but what about Phil Hughes?

 

He currently holds a streak of 23 and 1/3 innings without allowing a run, the longest streak since Rivera tossed 23 scoreless innings in 2005. Phil Hughes has been Phil-thy.

 

Hughes has become a rock in the Yankee bullpen, and it may have been the best thing for him. I noticed when he was a starter, his velocity would top off at 93, maybe 94 miles per hour. But on Sunday vs. Oakland in the later innings in relief, he was blowing 95-97 mph fastballs.

 

Last week on ESPN, they stated that the Boston ‘pen was better than the Yankee ‘pen. That may be true with some pitchers who haven’t been performing well like Bruney, but when you put it into perspective the Yankee bullpen has come alive and is probably the best in baseball at the moment.

 

And if ESPN still thinks the Boston bullpen is better, they should look at the standings. The Yankees are in first place (in part) because of the solid work from their relievers.  

 

Fifth Starter

 

It’s not that Sergio Mitre has been all that terrible. He has made two starts and he’s 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA.

 

But if you really look at his numbers, he has given up 17 hits in 10 2/3 innings against two of the worst teams in the league right now (Baltimore and Oakland). Would we really trust him to take the ball against the Red Sox in a game we need to win?   

 

I’m not quite sure about that.

 

On the YES Network’s “Joe Girardi Show” this past Sunday, the Yankee manager made it known that there could be trades happening after the deadline, which is Friday.

 

If the Yankees honestly have to, they should look to a team that has fallen out of contention and pick up a starter that can help them. One name that I heard mentioned in the rumor talk was Doug Davis of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

At press time Arizona is 43-57, 19 ½ games out the National League West good for fourth place in their division. It’s obvious they are not contenders.

 

Davis is not having the best year of his career either, as he currently sits at 5-10 with a 3.76 ERA. He has not been consistent this season, but who knows. If given another chance in the American League, he might succeed.

 

He has gotten the D’Backs into the seventh inning in six of his last 10 starts. But he also has a record of 3-4 over that span.

 

It probably would not be the wisest move for the Yanks to acquire a pitcher who has been struggling like Davis (personally, I think it was bad to even consider it, but like I said, who knows—he could turn it around)

 

And if Mitre is going to be as unpredictable as he has been, the Yanks need to look for someone somewhere to fill that fifth spot.  

 

Just looking at how things ended for the Yanks in 2006, it’s not wise to go into the playoffs with only four guys who can give you a quality start.

 

We have Sabathia, Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, and Andy Pettitte. Now we need a fifth guy or Mitre to dazzle us and prove himself worthy in his next couple starts.

 

Milestone Home Run

 

In last night’s 11-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Johnny Damon smashed his 200th career home run, a shot that sailed over the right field fence.

 

Congratulations to Damon for belting his 200th lifetime home run. The only part of it that is somewhat sour is that it did not come at home. I’m sure Damon doesn’t care where it came as long as it helped the Yankees win, which in a lot of ways it did.

 

When Damon first defected from Boston, he was not known as a home run hitter. Coming to the Yankees in ’06, the most home runs he had ever hit in a single season was 20 in 2004, a year he won a World Title with the Red Sox.

 

In his first season in New York, he set a new career-high with 24 round trippers.

 

Right now Damon has 17 for the year, and has matched his total from last year. If you want my opinion, I predict he’ll end this year with 26 big flies, setting a new career-high for himself.  

 

I think no matter what happens the Yankees should re-sign him. He is in the final year of his contract with the Yanks, and I think the way he is playing this season on both sides of the field, he will earn himself (at least) a one-year deal.

 

Well, that does it for this week’s edition of “Yankee Yapping.” I’ll be back next week with more topics and analysis.

 

Until then, Go Yankees!

Edition Three

Hello all! And welcome to this week’s edition of “Yankee Yapping.”

 

Away we go!

 

This Past Weekend

 

Well, unlike the horrific events of last weekend (getting swept by LA Angels of Anaheim) it was a great weekend to be a Yankee fan. Instead of getting swept the Yankees were the ones doing the sweeping, pulling out the brooms for the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.

 

Friday night was a little shaky; A.J. Burnett went a little overboard with the walks (five in the game with only one strikeout) but Phil Hughes was absolutely dominant in relief. He recorded six outs, all by way of the strikeout. Plus, Mark Teixeira looked strong, belting that home run off the flame-throwing Joel Zumaya.

 

Saturday’s game was quite honestly a little boring. There was really nothing doing until Alex Rodriguez hit that home run. It was just a battle of aces with CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander.

 

Sunday was yet another slow game, and the Yankees won on the strength of Teixeira and Rodriguez, who both went yard. It was nice to finally see Joba Chamberlain get past the fifth inning. If only he could make every start like the one we saw on Sunday, we’d be in good shape.

 

If he can do what he did yesterday more consistently, I would take back what I said about him belonging in the bullpen.

 

This Upcoming Week

 

The Yanks have some easy opponents coming in, as the Baltimore Orioles will come in for three games starting tonight, and then Friday Oakland will head in for a four game set.

 

Baltimore currently sits in last place of the AL East, owning a record of 41-50. Oakland is also currently in the basement of their division, rounding out the AL West with a season record of 38-52.

 

The Yanks have a good shot at winning both series with how they are playing. But if history has proved anything, it’s that both teams (especially Baltimore) can be pests.

 

I am just hoping that they win on Wednesday, which will be my third trip to the new Yankee Stadium. While the Yankees will send Andy Pettitte to the mound tonight and Sergio Mitre tomorrow, I will get to see Burnett make the start on Wednesday.

 

If you want to know if I am excited about going, well yes I am.  

 

Old Timer’s Day

 
Old Timers.jpg
 

 

Everything a Yankee fan loves about baseball is showcased every year at the annual Old Timer’s Day.

 

I have always believed that if you are “once a Yankee, you’re always a Yankee.” I believe that statement is so true, and when you see a guy like Don Zimmer come back for this special event, you know it’s true.

 

Zim is such a great baseball man, basically dedicating his life to baseball. I don’t think any fan will ever forget what happened to him during the 2003 American League Championship Series against Boston.

 

When Pedro Martinez slammed Zim to the ground, it was disgraceful. I remember hearing that if the incident occurred at Yankee Stadium, the NYPD would have arrested Martinez, and quite honestly he deserved it. What kind of person pushes a 72 year-old man down?

 

Along with Zim, It was great (albeit strange) to see Mike Mussina at Old Timer’s Day.

 

Moose just retired last year, going out on his own terms after winning 20 games for the first time in his career in 2008. I can just say this: Mussina can still pitch, and he is NOT an Old Timer.

 

I am fortunate enough to have gone to this celebration twice in my life; once in 2005 and again in 2007. If you are a Yankee fan, at least once in your lifetime get out to Old Timer’s Day. You will absolutely love it. I know I did.

 

2007’s Old Timer’s Day (pictured above) was the better of the two I went to. Seeing Paul O’Neill, Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Bobby Murcer, Ken Griffey, Sr., and Scott Brosius among others was an honor. You just can’t describe it.

 

In the Old Timer’s game in ’07 the Bombers beat the Clippers, 4-1. I loved watching the old players get back onto the field to play each other, it was funny.

 

Yesterday we got more of that funny feeling, and like I said, Old Timer’s Day is a must-see for all Yankee fans.

 

Well that does it for this week’s edition of Yankee Yapping. I’ll be back next week with different topics and analysis.

Edition Two

Hello all! And Welcome to the second edition of Yankee Yapping. I hope you all enjoyed my last rant about the Hall of Fame game, but now it’s time to do some Bronx Bomber blabbering. Away we go!

 

My thoughts on…

 

This Past Weekend

 

It was a bad weekend to be a Yankee fan, that’s for sure. It was disgraceful. Coming off that sweep in Minnesota, I had a good feeling about our chances in Anaheim. The Yankees were certainly carrying momentum, and it showed in the first few innings of Friday night’s game.

 

When the Yanks took that early 4-1 lead, I felt like they were going to win. But of course, Joba Chamberlain had to toss too many pitches and get himself taken out, not pitching past the fifth inning. Then the bullpen just couldn’t get the job done.

 

Saturday and Sunday were just as bad. Saturday was another game like Friday–getting a lead and squirreling it away. And Sunday we just kept trying to come back from deficit after deficit and couldn’t do it.

 

After this weekend, I truly know how it feels as a baseball fan to be burned by a former friend. It seemed every time Bobby Abreu was stepping into the box against us he was either hitting an RBI single or double. We just couldn’t get our former teammate out.

 

Abreu went 6-for-14 this weekend with six RBIs and three runs scored. I couldn’t stand it. Every time he got a hit I kept saying to myself, “we should have just re-signed him. He could be doing this for us rather than against us.”

 

Even the guys who aren’t hitting this season killed us. Robb Quinlan was batting .219 with no home runs and four RBIs, and yet he managed to start hitting in the series against the Yankees.

 

The Angels just seem to have the Yanks’ number. They eliminated us in the first round of the playoffs in 2002 and in 2005, and no matter what we do we just can’t seem to take them out.

 

What’s done this weekend is done. But I hope the Yanks can figure out a way to beat the Halos before October, because God help us if we’re facing the Angels in the first round. They have not been very kind to us in the past.

 

All Star Break

 

Despite the Yanks’ recent struggles against the Angels, they have played some incredible baseball to this point. They find themselves at 51-37 this year, 14 games above .500 at the half way point.

 

They are three games behind the Red Sox for first place in the American League Eastern Division, and the leaders by two-and-a-half games in front of Texas for the AL Wild Card.

 

Last year they were 50-45, only five games above .500 and six games out in the division race. As compared to last year, they are in a much better place.

 

If the season ended today, we would be in the playoffs, and it has to stay that way. Historically, the Yankees have great numbers after the All Star break, and usually come out of the gate swinging, so-to-speak.

 

CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano are two Yankees I can think of that are “second half players,” usually putting up their best work after the All Star break. I’m expecting both of these guys to continue that this year.

 

It’s safe to say the Yankees are doing a lot better than last year around this time, still in the hunt for a division crown and the leaders in the Wild Card. They have to make the playoffs this year, because Joe Girardi might be done as manager if they don’t.

 

Home Run Derby

 

Since it first began in 1985, the Home Run Derby has provided an enjoyable night for every baseball fan, and I am no exception.

 

In recent years I have kept score of who hits how many home runs in each round. It’s a little nerdy, but I am baseball fanatic, so I guess it’s normal.

 

The only thing I usually don’t like about the derby is the lack of pinstripes. There have only been two Yankees that have won the Home Run Derby, and ironically enough they have both been first basemen.

 

Tino Martinez (my favorite player during the Yankee Dynasty years) blew everyone out in 1997 at Jacobs….errm…Progressive Field in Cleveland. He put on such a great display of power and beat out the likes of Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thome, Mark McGwire, and Chipper Jones.

 

Martinez even said he was more nervous about competing in the Home Run Derby than the actual All Star Game because he didn’t feel he was really a home run hitter. He didn’t want to compete in the derby and not hit a home run, but wound up winning the contest.

 

Jason Giambi became the second Yankee to win the Derby in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. I remember watching it, and just being happy another Yankee won the contest. I never really liked Giambi as a player, but I’ll give him his due.

 

Giambi beat out his future teammate Alex Rodriguez, the current home run king* Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa–all of whom were amazing home run hitters at the time. And he did it wearing pinstripes.

 

This year Brandon Inge (Detroit Tigers), Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins), Ryan Howard (Philadelphia Phillies), Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers), Adrian Gonzalez (San Diego Padres), Carlos Pena (Tampa Bay Rays), Prince Fielder (Milwaukee Brewers), and Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) will all be taking their hacks for the Home Run Derby crown.

 

If you want my prediction, Pujols wins this easily.

 

He is leading the majors this year with 32 homers and 87 RBIs, and some people are going as far as saying he could win the Triple Crown. He is also playing in his home park in St. Louis, thus giving him a distinct advantage over the other participants.

 

Earlier this season, Pujols smashed a home run that went so far, it knocked out the “I” on the electrical McDonald’s “Big Mac” sign at Busch Stadium. He can hit and hit comfortably at his home park.

 

In my view, Pujols wins it by a landslide.

 

All Star Game

 

The mid-summer classic is always a fun night. The fans get to see the best-of-the-best playing on the same field at the same time.

 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the game last year at Yankee Stadium, but at least the American League won it.

 

The AL always seems to hold down the National League in this game. The last time the NL won the All Star game was 1996 (If you don’t count the 7-7 tie in 2002).

 

These last few years have showed the AL’s dominance over the NL, and I expect the same this year.

 

My prediction is the AL over the NL, 5-3.

 

The only thing that would make this great would be to see Derek Jeter or Mark Teixeira or Mariano Rivera win the All Star Game’s Most Valuable Player Award. The last Yankee to win it was Jeter in 2000, and it’d be nice to see a Bomber take it home to New York again.

 

I’d also love to see Rivera close out the contest and get the save. He has saved three All Star Games in his career (1997, 2005 and 2006) and is tied with Dennis Eckersley for most All Star Game saves.

 

There would be nothing more special than to see the greatest closer in baseball take first place for most All Star Game saves the same year he recorded his 500th career save.

 

Whichever way it goes, I have a feeling the AL will have home-field advantage in the World Series this year because of an All Star Game win.

 

Roy Halladay to the Yankees? Why?

 

As most baseball fans know, rumors have been swirling about Roy Halladay. Blue Jays’ General Manager J.P. Ricciardi put Halladay out there saying that he would be accepting offers for the ace.

 

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies are the only three teams that could possibly wind up with Halladay if he is dealt.

 

Olney said the Yanks and Sox have the prospects to trade for Halladay, but not the interest and the Phillies have the interest, but not the prospects. 

 

The Yanks should generate some interest, seeing as how two of their starters could not make it out of the fifth inning this past weekend.

 

Joba Chamberlain is too unpredictable. He can give you seven innings with eight strikeouts, a couple walks, and maybe two runs.

 

Or he can give you four-and-a-third innings with no strikeouts, four walks, and five runs. He can either put us in a hole or dominate the opposition.

 

As good as Pettitte has been this year (8-4 is not a bad record) he often struggles at home, and in that start against the Angels this weekend, he looked bad.

 

Then there’s Chien-Ming Wang, who was once an ace but now an injury-ridden nobody. Alfredo Aceves took his spot in the rotation, but Girardi doesn’t want Aceves to be in the rotation. He said they will need to make a decision on what to do about that fifth spot.

 

In my view, the Yankees need to make a trade here. They are contenders and struggling a little bit with some pitching. Although certainly not as bad as the makeshift rotation last year, they could use one more solid pitcher.

 

If I were Brian Cashman, I would think about packaging some minor leaguers and maybe some back-end bullpen pitchers to Toronto for Halladay.

 

There are a few guys that I’d be willing to part with, namely Sergio Mitre, Kei Igawa, Edwar Ramirez, David Robertson, and Brian Bruney. If you gave up some of those guys, the Yanks would be a lot safer, and here’s how:

 

If they give up Mitre, it’s fine. They’re not losing anyone important to the Major League team. Igawa is the same way, and so is Ramirez. Robertson has been useless, a la walking two batters with the bases loaded in Minnesota and pitching even worse against the Angels.

 

Bruney could go and we could ‘pen Chamberlain again. If he is going to be as unpredictable as he is, he should go back to where he was lights out: the bullpen. We could then use Chamberlain as the eighth inning set-up man and put either Phil Hughes or Aceves into the fifth spot.

 

So let’s say for hypothetical the starter goes six innings. The Yanks can put Hughes/Aceves in for the seventh, Chamberlain in for the eighth, and Rivera for the ninth. 

 

If they received Halladay in a trade, they wouldn’t have to worry about re-signing him until the end of the 2010 season when his contract expires. I think that was the reason the Yanks waited on getting Sabathia and Teixeira.

 

Both Sabathia and Teixeira were traded mid-season last year, and both players’ contracts were up at the end of the year.

 

If the Yankees had traded for both guys, they could’ve lost them to free agency after giving up their best prospects to get them. When Sabathia and Teixeira went to the Yankees, both the Brewers and Angels lost.

 

Milwaukee and Los Angeles lost Sabathia and Teixeira, respectively, and the players they gave up for Sabathia and Teixeira.

 

The Yankees wouldn’t have to worry about losing Halladay at the end of the season because he’d be locked up for at least another year before having to worry about re-signing him.

 

Even if you don’t have an extraordinary fifth starter, you have four guys that can carry you through a playoff series with Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Pettitte, and if we were to get him, Halladay.

 

I hope they do make a decision and opt to negotiate for Halladay. But they have to make up their mind soon–the trade deadline is at the end of the month.

 

Well that’s all for this week’s edition of Yankee Yapping. I’ll be back next week with more analysis. Enjoy the Home Run Derby and All Star Game, everyone!

The Hall of Fame Game

First off I want to announce that I am officially changing the name of my Blog from “Yakkin’ about the Yankees” to “Yankee Yapping.”

 

Not long after I published my first entry I discovered that the title “Yakkin’ about the Yankees” was already in use, and I want my own identity, so the title has been changed.

 

But the next edition of “Yankee Yapping” will come Monday, July 13.

 

Today I am writing about something I feel strongly about, and it’s the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Game.

 

The MLB Hall of Fame Game has been played every year since 1939–the year of baseball’s centennial celebration and the opening of the Hall of Fame.

 

But after 2008, the powers that be decided that this tradition will no longer be a part of baseball because it “creates a challenging scheduling problem.”

 

Now granted there might be a legitimate beef with scheduling; I mean the players have to travel to Cooperstown to play the game at Doubleday Field, but get a grip. Baseball legends such as Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, and Honus Wagner have stepped foot on that field. It should be an honor to compete on those sacred grounds.

 

In the earlier days the game was scheduled on Hall of Fame induction weekend, but was later moved to May and June to better suit the teams’ schedules. So if they already made it to fit the teams’ schedules, why did they do away with it altogether?

 

It seems awfully strange to me that it was just cancelled, and I feel it is an important part of history. They say Doubleday Field is the “birthplace of baseball,” and when I took a trip to Cooperstown with my dad in 2007, I’d believe it. I witnessed first hand how historic the field really is and how important baseball is to that upstate New York town.

 

The Hall of Fame Game may have changed a little over the years, as it began as a sort of old timer’s game and then became a Major League exhibition, but it’s disgraceful how they just abruptly ended it.

 

And the annual contest didn’t even end on a solid note.

 

On June 16, 2008, the final Hall of Fame Game was supposed to be played between the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs. Unfortunately rain ruined the afternoon, and they never did play what was supposed to be an ultimate, historic game.

 

So the final Hall of Fame game wound up being on May 21, 2007, and the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 13-7.

 

It’s sad to see such an important part of history just die because of scheduling problems. I feel it’s a grave injustice to the game and an unfortunate loss to our history.

 

There are three games in my mind that should always be a part of Major League Baseball.

 

Number one is of course the World Series. We wouldn’t be here if there was not a championship to chase.

 

Number two is the All-Star Game. There’s nothing like watching the best-of-the-best on the field at the same time and it has become a tradition, like the World Series. In fact, recently the All Star Game has become the deciding factor on which team gets home-field advantage in World Series.

 

And last but never the least is the Hall of Fame Game. It has such a rich history, and again–it carries on a tradition. Every team has participated in the Hall of Fame Game except the Washington Nationals. That tells you how historic it is.

 

Now that the Hall of Fame Game is gone, MLB decided to piece together the “Hall of Fame Classic,” a game to be played every father’s day weekend in Cooperstown featuring retired players and Hall of Famers.

 

I guess it’s a good idea, but it won’t be the same as having the current MLB teams play in the Hall of Fame Game.

 

The fact remains that a part of history has been snatched away from the passionate baseball fans, like a centerfielder robbing a home run in a close game.

 

Edition One

Hello all! I have decided to begin a blog here on MLB.com entitled “Yankee Yapping.” As a passionate Yankee fan, I am going to choose certain topics and then offer my own perspective on each issue. I am going to try and enter at least one blog per week. I shall begin!

 

My thoughts on…

The Current Yankee bullpen

These guys are performing extremely well right now. It is a real step up from last year when the ‘pen could barely hold anything. Probably the best thing for the Yankees is the move of Phil Hughes to the bullpen. He’s becoming a dominant force out there and he seems to be fitting in well. Coupled with Phil Coke, Michael Kay has dubbed them “the Phil-thies,” and they certainly have been filthy.

Friday against Toronto Coke and Hughes proved their worth in relief, holding the game down and not allowing a run. I like Brian Bruney, too, but he’s been injured and it seems to be affecting his performance.

Alfredo Aceves has become one of my new favorite pitchers. It’s almost sad that the official scorer gave him a save yesterday and not a win. Chamberlain put the Yanks in a hole but Ace came out and dazzled everyone.

Overall the Yankee bullpen is the best I have seen it in a long time, and Yankee manager Joe Girardi is content with the way his relievers are throwing. I have to agree with Girardi. 

Eric Hinske

So far this trade has been rather pointless. Hinske is finally getting to play today, but it took a week for him to step onto the field.

We’ll see how he does today; Hinske has experience playing in the AL East as he’s been with Toronto, Boston, and Tampa Bay, so how he does with the Yanks, only time will tell.

He’s excited to be here, that was evident in the pre-game interview with the YES Network today.

“I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t excited,” he said. 

“You always think about being a Yankee.”

Chien-Ming Wang 

It’s really sad what has happened to Wang. He has had the worst season of his life. I think his early struggles date back to last year when he was hurt running the bases in Houston. I remember seeing the comparison from last year and this year with Wang’s footing on the mound; it was totally different.

He was doing a good job of working his way back to his old self, and then the poor guy gets set back again with a right shoulder strain and bursitis. It’s been a bad year for Wang, and I can only hope he works his way back. It would be a shame to see his career go south because he has done so much for the Yankees.

Girardi said in the press conference before today’s game that Aceves might be moved from the ‘pen to start in place of Wang on Thursday in Minnesota. Although he’s only available to toss about 60-65 pitches.

The “looseness” of the Club House

This year it seems all the players are more laid back than last year. In my opinion the addition of Nick Swisher and the attitudes of Johnny Damon and A.J. Burnett have made a huge impact on the rest of the players.

After a walk-off win last year the guys seemed so stiff and were just struggling to keep their heads above the water. After a walk-off they would just say how much they need to win the next game to stay in the race.

This year they pie each other in the face and award the WWE Championship title belt to the player of the game. In fact, I read on the Star Ledger website that the WWE is making a special belt for the Yankees with the interlocking NY on it in place of the WWE logo.

They are finding unique ways to stay loose on the field, and that is something that basically cannot be taught.  

All Stars

There will be three Yankees represented in St. Louis this year.

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Mark Teixeira will be making the trip to Busch Stadium on July 14 for the All-Star Game.

Jeter and Rivera will each be making their 10th All-Star Game appearance while Teixeria is going for the second time.

I can’t really say enough about Jeter. He was the leading vote-getter in the American League and will be the oldest shortstop to start a mid-summer classic since Luis Aparicio in 1971. That says something about the type of player he really is.

It’ll definitely be strange not to see Alex Rodriguez there. Missing the first month of the season most likely affected his chances of going, and Evan Longoria earned it. Maybe the days off will help A-Rod; he’s been going non-stop since he came back on May 8, so it’s possible he can rest his hip and come out in the second half stronger.

As far as the game goes, the American League has held the National League down these past few years. I expect the same this year.

 

That does it for my first edition of “Yankee Yapping.”  I’ll be back next week with different topics an analysis. Hope you all enjoy my blog.  

 

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